Skip to comments."It can be a somewhat startling theme for western Christian ears..."
Posted on 12/27/2010 2:13:22 PM PST by NYer
George Weigel, in his most recent column ("Christmas, Jews and Christians"), takes up a theme near and dear to my heart:
Eastern Christian theology has long stressed theosis, or divinization, as the goal of the Christian life. It can be a somewhat startling theme for western Christian ears, formed as we are by Augustines sense of the distance that original sin created between humanity and God.
Yet if, as theologians East and West have long insisted, Christianity is not about our search for God (as so much pop-spirituality these days insists), but about God coming into history in search of us and our learning to take the same path through history that God is taking, then divinization makes perfect sense: for how could we follow God through history unless we became more and more like God?
Read the entire piece. Two years ago I wrote an essay, "Theosis: The Reason for the Season", in which I stated:
Theosis, deification, and adoptive sonship have received much attention in recent decades from Catholic theologians and scholars. Ressourcement theologians such as Hans Urs von Balthasar, Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac, and Jean Daniélou addressed them in a variety of books and articles. Recent books such as Divine Light: The Theology of Denys the Areopagite, by Dr. William Riordan, and Deification And Grace by Daniel Keating are scholarly studies worthy of attention.
Pope John Paul II's Trinitarian encyclicalsRedemptor Hominis, Dives in Misericordia and Dominum et Vivificantemoften emphasized divine adoption:
For as Saint Paul teaches, "all who are led by the Spirit of God" are "children of God." The filiation of divine adoption is born in man on the basis of the mystery of the Incarnation, therefore through Christ the eternal Son. But the birth, or rebirth, happens when God the Father "sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts." Then we receive a spirit of adopted sons by which we cry 'Abba, Father!'" Hence the divine filiation planted in the human soul through sanctifying grace is the work of the Holy Spirit. "It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ." Sanctifying grace is the principle and source of man's new life: divine, supernatural life. (Dives in Misericordia, 52.2).
Coming full circle, the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers time and time again to the reality of theosis. "God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life," it states, "a communion brought about by the 'convocation' of men in Christ, and this 'convocation' is the Church" (par 760). Through the sacraments we are made "children of God, partakers of the divine nature" (par 1692). The foundation of the moral life, the living out of the Christian calling, is found in the theological virtues: faith, hope and love, infused by the Holy Spirit. Those theological virtues "adapt man's faculties for participation in the divine nature" (par 1812). Our prayer to and adoration of the Father is rooted in divine adoption, for "he has caused us to be reborn to his life by adopting us as his children in his only Son" (par 2782).
Read my entire essay on Ignatius Insight. Also see:
The Dignity of the Human Person: Pope John Paul II's Teaching on Divinization in the Trinitarian Encyclicals | Carl E. Olson
The Liturgy Lived: The Divinization of Man | Jean Corbon, O.P.
Jean Daniélou and the "Master-Key to Christian Theology" | Carl E. Olson
Was The Joint Declaration Truly Justified? | An Interview with Dr. Christopher Malloy
Why Catholicism Makes Protestantism Tick: Louis Bouyer on the Reformation | Mark Brumley
Are Catholics Born Again? | Mark Brumley
BFL, gonna need some time to digest this one!
Catholics encounter ‘theosis’ in the Eastern Catholic Churches, where it is reflected in the prayers, hymns and especially the confessional. Unlike the Western Church with an emphasis on enumerating one’s sins, reconciliation in the Eastern Church places greater emphasis on personal reflection.
It doesn't have to be "either-or".
Thanks for posting... I have a lot of reading to do now...
Sounds like a lotta greek to me.
-—”for how could we follow God through history unless we became more and more like God?”-—
Lost me right there.
The pot cannot become the potter.
This is neo-pagan dogma drivel.
I thought that I was a bad RC for most of my childhood, when it turns out that I’m actually a bad protestant.
But I never thought that I would see this sort of drivel under any sort of RC banner.
But I kicked out after Vatican I, so, it’s been a while.
I know that you just posted it I mean no offense to you.
"Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim
That is a great quote and a cool tag line.
Here, let me help you: You're a child of God and He loves you.
Bernard of Clairvaux, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, St. John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Sienna, Teresa of Avila???
Idou theoro tous ouranous dianoigmenos kai ton uion tou anthropou ek dezion estata tou theou!
Of course not. The point is that we should imitate God, as Christ instructed us. Or do you consider Christ a neo pagan?
Here is another example of 'theosis'. While most people are preparing new year's resolutions, our (Eastern Catholic) priest reminded us that this week is a time for reflection on our relationship with God this past year. We begin by reflecting on and thanking God for all the gifts God has placed in our lives this year.
If you think about it, life is like a ladder. Each year we grow in wisdom and use it to work our way up that ladder by developing a deeper relationship with God while applying Christ's teachings in our relationships with others. Our lives should reflect God to others.
Pard I can only read the words that are on the page.
I am and will forever be unable to accept that men could ever “participate” in anything with the one true God.
It simply suggests an absurd to my mind level of even possible equality with HIM.
Christians do not “reach Nirvana”.
I find the entire concept of reaching a “Godshead” completely un-Christian.
Our Lord has given us a gift. We only accept or deny.
There is no equality in any way.
The only human who ever was or ever will be divine was Jesus.
HE paid OUR blood price demanded by the LAW of man and God.
Anyhow, just my .02, do as you will of course. This is still America right?
Sorry I meant to ping y’all also.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, Father!" The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:15
If adopted children of God and brothers of Christ, we become divine not by nature but by adoption and participation.
-—”If adopted children of God and brothers of Christ, we become divine not by nature but by adoption and participation.”-—
NO, we most certainly do NOT!
We humans can’t even be “good” let alone “divine”.
ONLY Jesus was ever, or ever will be, “divine”.
WE humans on the other hand can only be saved or lost.
WE humans are NOT, and CANNOT be saved by works.
Salvation is gift, granted by an infinite GOD to a flawed finite being.
There is no “divinity” possible in that finite being, in us.
The mere concept is absurd neo-pagan pride.
I want to make sure that you understand that I am not saying that the one true GOD could not make humans “divine” if HE wanted to.
BUT that is not the way that it is set up in scripture.
Folks such as you get all warm n fuzzy, and try to gloss over the hard parts of being of the Lord’s flock.
Check your pride.
Missed the point didn’t you. Protestants are radical Augustinians, and they depend heavily on HIS teachings on Original Sin. HIS version of what Paul said. But many Catholics also tend to follow the Jansenist doctrine which are not far removed from Calvinism.